Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Everyone needs light rail, but where do we start?

Breaking news in the Ottawa Citizen today: Kanata commuters think Kanata needs light rail. In his first trip in a series of three from the city's largest suburban hubs, mayor Larry O'Brien asked people from Kanata what they thought about the recent transit plans as launched by the city. Today he went from Mackenzie-King to Orleans, and tomorrow he'll take the ride from Fallowfield to downtown.

Want to take a guess what the second and third rides will show? I bet Barrhaven commuters will think Barrhaven needs light rail, and Orleans commuters will think Orleans needs light rail. And, in the long run, all are true. But just because everyone thinks they need light rail right now doesn't mean the city doesn't have to make priorities, and follow those.

An excerpt from the story:
Most commuters were pleasantly surprised to see the mayor, who posed for pictures and joked with riders. They also filled his ears with complaints about current transit challenges, including overcrowding, reliability, and difficulties getting home in the winter.

Stittsville-Kanata West Councillor Shad Qadri, who rode the bus with Mr. O'Brien, said he "wouldn't mind seeing LRT come out as far as Eagleson."

"That would serve all of that west-end area very, very well," said Mr. Qadri, adding that light rail could go as far east as the edge of Orléans.


Mr. Qadri said he was leaning toward Option 3, which keeps the O-Train and uses the tunnel for light rail, which would increase the potential for an LRT expansion.

The bottom line is that, realistically, all three areas should be connected to the transit infrastructure without having to make transfers, or having to drive to a park'n'ride, or spend three times as long on a bus as the drive would take. Extending light rail would solve these problems, but it can't all be done at once, can it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you know if they took the bus during rush hour? I don't think that anyone can really understand the problems unless the take the bus at peak hours. From what I heard, the TV coverage of them showed them sitting down with no one standing, so I'm inclined to think they were taking the bus at 11 AM or something.
Also, I was just talking to a colleague from Barrhaven and she brought up a very good point. Mayor O'Brien is scheduled to take the bus from Barrhaven tomorrow, the Thursday before Easter weekend. She postured that the Barrhaven buses will likely be a lot less full than usual since many people will take the Thursday off and have an extra long weekend.
Why can't they plan these things better? If you want to do research, do it properly! If you just want a photo op, come out and say it!